Monday, October 31, 2016

Chicago Looks IRL

Remember to get your Chicago Reader this week!

Chicago Athletic Hotel Halloween party by The Empty Bottle

chicago athletic hotel halloween party 2016 style

A great Halloween costume takes commitment, and Elliot Marcille - pictured above - had plenty of it. He hauled an old-school boom box throughout the entire Halloween party at the Chicago Athletic Hotel (an annual event promoted by the Empty Bottle). After a friend told him that he reminded her of John Cusack, Elliot carefully plotted his Lloyd Dobler act, all the way down to the character's mannerisms. Props and attention to detail were also visible in a few other partygoers, pictured below:

                   chicago athletic hotel halloween party 2016 style

Friends Kristi, Margaret, Amanda and Adam impersonated characters—and even a setting—from the Netflix series Stranger Things.

chicago athletic hotel halloween party 2016 style

Adam, dressed as Eleven from Stranger Things.

chicago athletic hotel halloween party 2016 style

Brianna brought back Lady Gaga's "Telephone" music-video outfit, down to the soda-can hair rollers.                  

chicago athletic hotel halloween party 2016 style

Liz's iconic look doesn't need any introductions. She and her "Choupette" (designer Karl Lagerfeld's cat, who has more than 89,000 Instagram followers in real life) were heading to a Lagerfeld-and-Choupette-only costume party later in the evening.  

Originally posted in the Chicago Reader.              


chicago street style fashion blog halloween

A little throwback here to the Halloween Soft Leather party in 2014. Kelly just killed it in a costume evoking Marion Crane from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Shower curtain couture!

Photos of this year's Chicago Athletic Association Halloween bash coming up soon!

Saturday, October 29, 2016


chicago street style fashion blog

A schoolgirl look, spotted in Wicker Park

Amber manages to mix two very loud prints while still keeping her look minimal and well-assembled. She achieves that feat by sticking to a color scheme and by letting her solid-black top act as a "breather." 

Originally posted in the Chicago Reader.

Randolph Street Market this weekend!

What better place to find a Halloween costume that can be worn throughout the year? More info here.

Mainbocher Mania!

chicago history museum fashion mainbocher
 Mainbocher anticipated Dior's "New Look" in the early 30s.

chicago history museum fashion mainbocher
 He also introduced the cropped jacket (first outfit on the left).

chicago history museum fashion mainbocher
 Interactive display in the "Making Mainbocher" exhibit.

chicago history museum fashion mainbocher
Uniforms designed by Mainbocher.

Look who's talking about the Mainbocher exhibit at the Chicago History Museum:

The Wall Street Journal: Celebrating the First American Couturier

A total must-see! The story behind the couturier is also fascinating - make sure you learn about it in the very instructive website of the exhibit:


A few fun facts:

- He was born on the West Side here in Chicago!

- He moved to Paris after enlisting in the US Army, in which he served as a sergeant in the Intelligence Corps. He used "music student" as his cover.

- He started his ascent in the fashion industry as an illustrator for Harper's Bazaar; shortly after he became the editor-in-chief of French Vogue. When he didn't get the raise he asked for, he decided to open his own fashion house.

- Mainbocher brought back the corset and anticipated Dior's "New Look" in the early 30s.

- He designed the Duchess of Windsor's iconic wedding dress.

And so many more! I highly recommend the exhibit catalog, on sale at the Chicago History Museum shop.

More Mainbocher soon to come! I'll be talking about the lecture with Arnaud de Lummen, the managing director of Luvanis - the group that owns the Mainbocher name. Have you heard of "sleeping beauty" brands? Stay tuned and you'll find out!

Moschino Spring/Summer 2016 Fashion Show

These Moschino posts might seem random - and they are! - but I just had to have these videos in my blog. This is from Jeremy Scott's Spring/Summer '16 collection for the brand. I never looked at street signs the same way after watching this show, so I just wanted to share. I LOVE MOSCHINO! 

 Image courtesy of E! Online

Friday, October 28, 2016

Moschino Spring/Summer 2017 fashion show!

I just had to post this video, it blew me away. Absolutely GENIUS! Valley of the dolls! Designer Jeremy Scott was definitely the perfect choice for Moschino - Franco Moschino himself once made a luxurious gown out of trash bags! Talk about a sense of humor... 

It's a paper doll!!

Image courtesy of Wonderland Magazine.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Chicago Looks IRL

Remember to get your Chicago Reader and Newcity this weekend!

Opportunities, updates and events at the Chicago Fashion Incubator

Message from the Chicago Fashion Incubator:


Please Join Us in Welcoming Our New Executive Director, Tonya Gross!

Tonya Gross joins the CFI after the City of Chicago's fashion initiative, Fashion Focus Chicago, and her role as Fashion Director with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, were de-funded. Tonya brings deep experience in public programming, community engagement, small business development, and program and project management to the CFI. Tonya is the Creative Director of tonya gross millinery and Chicago Creative Consultants, LLC.

Tonya will be hosting a new salon series, D2D (designer-to-designer,) as a forum to connect designers to share best practices and build solutions that make an impact to the Chicago fashion industry beginning in 2017. Stay tuned! Want to connect/reconnect with Tonya? Email:


The 2017-2019 Designer In Residence Program Application Is Now Open!

Current DIR (left to right): Shruti Kirti, Anna Brown, Gabrielle Zwick, Conner Writt, Liz Bahl and Masha Titievsky

The Chicago Fashion Incubator Designer in Residence (DIR) is a two-year design and business development program for up to six apparel and (soft) accessories designers. The DIR are provided a creative professional environment to foster and grow their businesses. By offering low-cost design studio space, business mentoring, educational seminars, and networking opportunities, the CFI's DIR program provides a way for designers to work with business and design mentors to assess needs; develop design and business skills, resources and networks to become an integral part of the Chicago fashion community; and develop latitudes to reach global markets. The next cycle begins March 1, 2017 through February 28, 2019.

Applicants seeking consideration for entry to the DIR program at the Chicago Fashion Incubator must submit a FULLY COMPLETED application and pay a non-refundable $100.00 application fee, and meet all of the following criteria:
- be 21 years of age or older by the application deadline date
- design apparel and/or (soft) accessories for women and/or men
- established a main residence in the Greater Chicago area before March 1, 2017
- hold a City of Chicago business license or an application in process
- able to commit to the CFI DIR program including a minimum of 30 hours in the studio Monday - Friday during regular business hours
- attend scheduled 1/1 mentor sessions, seminars, and CFI media events, info sessions, and programs
- hold a Bachelor's degree in a fashion or fashion-related field is strongly preferred

The application is open until Sunday, December 4, 2016, 4:59pm CT. Selected designers to be announced the 3rd week of January 2017.

RSVP to attend one of the DIR application information sessions in November and apply at our website!


Upcoming Public Programs

Global fashion brands are developing a "see now, buy now" program, moving away from two season collections. This means the cycle of production (and marketing plan) is adapted for a more rapid production of apparel and accessories to make product immediately available online and in stores. Jane Hamill of Fashion Brain Academy will show you 3 alternative ways to run your fashion business in this business climate. Immediately following this program, join the Life Creative team for a tour of this incredible new shared maker and meeting space created by Event Creative and Venue One! November 4, 8:30-10am. $35 fee includes handouts and a light breakfast.

RSVP for 3 Alternative Ways to Run Your Fashion Business for the "See Now, Buy Now" Consumer


2017 DCASE Individual Artists Program (IAP)
Grants Information Session for Fashion Applicants

The Chicago Fashion Incubator is hosting a free Applicant Assistance workshop for the 2017 DCASE Individual Artists Program (IAP.) Join the CFI and DCASE and learn the grants process and how to prepare an application and address specific questions and topics related to funding a fashion-specific project or professional development Wednesday, November 16, 6-8pm at Life Creative. This is a FREE program. You must attend an Applicant Assistance Session as part of the grants application process.

Workshops will review updates to grant guidelines and eligibility requirements, review criteria and provide guidance to help applicants prepare the strongest, most competitive applications. Following the presentation, there will be time for applicants to speak with DCASE staff and ask questions.
IAP guidelines will be available at on November 1, 2016. The IAP Application period opens on December 1, 2016, and the Deadline for applications is January 13, 2017. Absolutely no extensions will be granted.

Life Creative, a new creative maker space, is located at 1655 West Walnut Street at Paulina, a 1/2 block from the Ashland/Lake stop on both the Green and Pink trains, the #9 Ashland bus, and is ADA accessible.

RSVP for this Applicant Information Session (or another session)

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Friday, October 21, 2016

OPENING TOMORROW with talk at 10:30 AM! Chicago History Museum features the first American couturier—and he was born here!

  • Tulle evening dress with shell trim, fall 1946
A Chicago-born army vet and illustrator with modest beginnings ventures into the exclusive world of French haute couture and becomes the very first American couturier to achieve success in Paris. That's the story told by "Making Mainbocher: The First American Couturier," which opens tomorrow at the Chicago History Museum. The exhibit features 30 of his garments, plus fashion illustrations, photographs, and interactive displays. 

After a stint in the U.S. Army, Main Rousseau Bocher  (1890–1976) landed in Paris, where was hired as a fashion illustrator for Harper's Bazaar. He eventually became the editor in chief of French Vogue, and from there decided to launch his own couture salon in 1930, a bold move considering the uncertain economic climate of those times. One of his most famous clients was Wallis Simpson, whose wedding gown he designed.

Learn more about Mainbocher below in a Chicago History Museum video and in a Q&A with the museum's costume curator, Petra Slinkard. 

  • Red velvet ballgown with accessories, fall 1947
What were Mainbocher's best years as a designer?
That is a difficult question. He was a prolific designer who worked as a couturier from 1930-1971. However, his most innovative years as a designer were the 1930s and 1940s.

How did he begin his career? Where did his learn his craft?
Mainbocher’s career as a couturier began in Paris. He learned about what constitutes “good fashion” from his years working as a fashion artist for Harper’s Bazaar and fashion editor with French Vogue. When he left Vogue to open his house, he taught himself the art of draping and dressmaking.

How did he grow to be a world-class couturier having come from such a modest family? How hard was it to be a couturier then?
I believe that it was Mainbocher’s upbringing that helped enable him to achieve the level of success he did. Not having come from a wealthy family meant he had to work hard for everything he achieved and he needed to be smart and flexible in achieving his goals. Becoming a couturier requires a great amount of skill and creative talent. Haute couture is a complex system of industry standards and social mores. What is most impressive about Mainbocher’s path is that he was an American working in the French system and then went on to adhere to the same process in the United States later.

What characterized his designs?
Simplicity, elegance, minimalism, restrained ornamentation, luxurious fabrics.

Who were some of his most famous clients?

The following Mrs./s: Huntington Astor, John Jacob Astor, Edward F. Hutton, Gilbert Miller, David K.E. Bruce, James B. Duke, and Barclay Warburton. In addition to Gloria Vanderbilt, Jean Harvey Vanderbilt, C. Z. Guest, Mary Martin, ‘Babe’ Paley, Millicent Rodgers, Mrs. A. Watson Armour, III and the women of the United States Navy, and the Girl Scouts of the USA

Could you tell us more about the wedding dress he designed for the Duchess of Windsor in 1937?
It is housed in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You can learn more about it here

Considering he created uniforms for the Navy WAVES during World War II, the Girl Scouts, and nursing students at Chicago's Passavant Memorial, is it fair to say he was one of the first high-end designers to make his creations accessible to a wider segment of the population? 
No. But he was one of the first high-end designers to embark on a uniform design that experienced as much use and longevity than most others in the field.

  • WAVES uniform, United States Naval Reserve, c. 1942
What is Mainbocher most known for? 
Mainbocher was known for the understated elegance of his couture clothing. Among his innovations were short evening dresses, jeweled sweaters, and a revival of the corset that anticipated Dior’s New Look.
How can his influence be seen nowadays?
I think some of Mainbocher’s influences are so far-reaching we forget from where they came. For example the beaded cardigan and strapless gown have become fashion staples.

Why did the Chicago History Museum decide to open "Mainbocher: The First American Couturier" at this point in time?
The Chicago History Museum’s mission is to share Chicago’s stories. Mainbocher’s biography had not yet been told through an exhibition and so it seemed like a good fit for us at this time. His story is multifaceted and in my opinion, fascinating. I’m thrilled that we get to share it with them now.

So the very first American couturier was born in Chicago? No other American came before him?
There were other American couturiers working at the same time as Mainbocher, mainly Charles James and Valentina. But Mainbocher was the first American to achieve success as a couturier working in Paris in the 1930s. And yes, he was born and raised in Chicago.

Has the Mainbocher brand been resurrected? 
The brand has not yet been resurrected, but it is a great question, as the owner of the Mainbocher brand [Paris-based entrepreneur Arnaud de Lummen of Luvanis] will be at the Museum on Saturday, October 22, to discuss the pros and cons of resurrecting “sleeping beauty” brands such as Mainbocher. The talk begins at 10:30 AM and is free with museum admission.

"Making Mainbocher: The First American Couturier" 10/22-12/31, Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark, 312-642-4600,, $16.

Originally posted in the Chicago Reader.

TONIGHT! The Art of Fashion at Revel Fulton Market

Local designer Anna Brown will be selling her creations at the Chicago Fashion Incubator booth during the event.

------ presents The Art of Fashion

Date & Times:
Friday, October 21, 2016 from 5-10pm (live runway show at 7:30pm)

What's New? It's Bigger & Better than Ever
In addition to an amazing runway show, guests can enjoy complimentary cocktails before & after the show and meet top Chicago designers at our FashionChicago pop-up shopping event (5-10pm) - in an event spanning 30,000 square feet at Revel Fulton Market (1215 W. Fulton Market, Chicago)

Event Highlights:
All ticket levels include complimentary:
• Signature cocktails by ABSOLUT Elyx & AVION Silver
• Tuscan wines by Rocca delle Macie
• Amstel Light & Strongbow Hard Apple Ciders
• Hors d'oeuvres by RA Sushi, Macello Ristorante & Wow Bao
• Nail Polish Changes by CND Vinylux

BONUS: VIP Goodie Bags (est. value $150+)
For VIP ticketbuyers, our signature Goodie Bags are filled to the rim (as always!) with full-size and travel size products & freebies from beauty & lifestyle brands including: Amlactin * Bliss * Biopelle * Chapstick * CND Vinylux * Hada Labo Tokyo * Hask Essentials * Honest Tea * invisibobble * LUNA Bar * Randolph Street Market * Trilogy Natural Skincare * VitaCoco* .....and more.

This year's bag proves once again - remains the undisputed Goodie Bag champion of Chicago. (No contest.)

Runway Show Designers:
Alyce Paris * Elda de la Rosa * Gidi * Heidi Hess * J. Toor * Lauren Lein * Leandro Mulet Designs * Julie Mersine * Mark Roscoe * Peach Carr * Shernett Swaby.

FashionChicago Pop-up Shops:
Ann Catherine Design * Ann Everett * Anna Hovet * Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy's on State Street * Dena Lyons * FU Clothing * Gidi * Heidi Hess * Honey Red Designs * K. Amato * Lagi Nadeau * La Nisay * loveknitz * Nomadic Ant Jewelry * Peach Carr * Shernett Swaby * Squasht * Suki + Solaine * Tsonga * 4 Tamara Nicole …and more.    

More info at

EXPOsed at the Art Fair

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog

chicago street style fashion blog

While you looked at the art at EXPO Chicago, we looked at you!

From top to bottom:

Ceramicist Ashley Jimenez and Jessica Ciak went for a glamorous/hip all-black look; adding some white to the mix, art director Scott Cruz in a breezy monochromatic ensemble and fashion buyer Samm Mackin in a modern op-art look; Aaron Morris and LVL3 director Vincent Uribe kept colors neutral but made a statement with cool prints, matching bow ties and perfectly fitted garments; Sarah Morris and Lindsey Hauck sported modern, roomy tops in shades of blue, complemented by noteworthy accessories and pixie haircuts.

Also published in the current Newcity - now available all over downtown in those black newspaper boxes, and in the following select locations.
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